Transfer Tracker

FC Cincinnati sign Colombian international defender Santiago Arias

TRANSFER_Santiago Arias


FC Cincinnati have completed an important offseason checklist item, announcing Thursday they’ve signed Colombian international right back Santiago Arias on a free transfer.

The 31-year-old defender’s deal runs through the 2023 MLS season with an option for 2024.

“Santi brings an enormous amount of experience and ability to FC Cincinnati,” general manager Chris Albright said in a release.

“His defensive instincts, character, and overall quality is a welcome addition to the group and I’d like to welcome him and his family to Cincinnati.”

Arias was last under contract at Spanish top-flight side Atletico Madrid, though he spent the previous two seasons on loan at Bayer Leverkusen (German Bundesliga) and Granada (LaLiga). His most successful stint came at Dutch side PSV, where he won three Eredivisie titles from 2015-18 after he originally went to Europe in 2011 with Portugal’s Sporting CP.

Arias, a veteran of two FIFA World Cups and three Copa Américas, has played 54 games for his native Colombia. He’s featured in nearly 300 career club games.

In Arias, Cincinnati have added an experienced right back alongside MLS veterans Ray Gaddis and Alvas Powell. He is their fourth key defensive addition across the last year; US international center back Matt Miazga, Colombian center back Yerson Mosquera (loan from Wolves) and deep-lying midfielder Obinna Nwobodo (Designated Player) are the others.

The Orange & Blue, who also added Ecuador international midfielder Marco Angulo (U22 Initiative) this offseason, made their first-ever Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last year as a new regime rejuvenates their on-field product.

Cincinnati open their 2023 campaign on Feb. 25 when hosting Houston Dynamo FC (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).